Got Malware? Google may alert you if they detect computer infection

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After unusual search traffic was detected, during routine maintenance of the Google servers, malware or malicious software was discovered by Google staff.  The malware, which has the appearance of anti-virus software, is widespread.  So, Google has done its due diligence, and has started to notify users of the malware. 
Google Logo officially released on May 2010

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A yellow banner is displayed at the top of your Google search results, if malicious software is detected on your computer.  The malware is intended to send traffic through Google byway of proxy servers.  Still, as Google does its part to warn and inform users of the harmful malware, it is important for all users to understand that clone banners may soon exist. 

It has been a hobby of criminal hackers for some time, to clone legit websites, blogs, banners and other electronic notifications to infect the computers of, or simply trick consumers.  This latest attempt by Google to protect users will not be spared from being copied. Usually a trusted source, site, or ad is cloned to trick consumers.  Though cloned banners should be expected, Google has taken that into consideration: Any clone banner on a Google's search results page would require prior compromise of that computer, so the notice itself --is not a risk to users.

This presents a huge problem with no easy solution.  How will users identify the real Google banner from the clones that are probably being created as you read these words?  The cloned banners will look identical to the real banner.

The Google banner provides a link to help users solve the problem by updating the antivirus software.  So, you can bet that the clones will also have a call to action.  The problem is the call to action for cloned banners will be harmful.  Either these bad banners will try to get personal information from you or, they will lead you to download a virus from a phony website.  If you see the banner on your computer screen here are a few things that you should consider before you click.

•    The real banner will only appear at the top of a Google search results page.
•    Google will not ask you for any personal information.
•    The real banner will be across the page itself; it will not appear as a popup. 
•    Be cautious of any banner with the words "Download Now"
For more tips on how to stay safe online, see Google security advice.

You probably wonder why Google would choose to notify users this way, if the banner could so easily copied by criminals and hackers.  The truth is, almost any type of electronic notification attempt by Google would have been met with copy cats.  

Consumers should understand that Google has done the right thing users should be notified of a possible infection of their computers.  However, few notification systems are perfect.  Criminals can copy websites, emails, and popup ads.  So, it is important for consumers to be cautious even if the banner seems legitimate. If you are concerned about the banner, then visit the Google online security blog. And compare the Google banner to the one on your screen.  There is no doubt that just like the dog days of summer, the Google banner clones are here. So, consumers should do their part too, which means that all users should be on guard.
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